Unpleasant truth: Calamity could strike at any time, putting your digital media in jeopardy. The right backup software can save the day.
Technology fails. All technology, whether it’s a brand new iMac, a spaceship, a hover board, a Web mail service, or a ten-year-old PC running Windows Vista, can potentially take a sudden nosedive. Hard drives are notorious for expiring, and ransomware can make their contents inaccessible. Sometimes it’s no fault of the technology: Fires, flooding, and other natural disasters can render PCs and other tech hardware inoperable. And laptops get stolen. You need insurance. With digital content becoming paramount for not only business assets—documents, plans, financial spreadsheets—but also for personal assets such as family photos, videos, and music, protecting with backup software is more important than ever.
Both Windows and Mac OS X have beefed up their built-in backup tools in recent years. Windows 10 includes a File History feature and a full disk backup feature, and OS X includes its Time Machine software. Both of these are well worth running, but they both have some limitations, lacking some of the extra benefits you get from running standalone backup software.
How Backup Software Works
The concept behind backup software is pretty simple: Make a copy of your files on storage separate from your main hard drive. That storage can be another drive, an external drive, a NAS, a rewritable disc, or an online storage and syncing service. Should you lose the files, either through disaster or simply by deleting them or overwriting them, just restore them from the saved copies.
But in order for this to work, the copies of your files must be updated regularly. Most backup software lets you schedule scans of your hard drive for new and changed files daily, weekly, or monthly, but my preferred option is to have the software continually (or at least, say, every 15 minutes) monitor your drive for changed or new files. Several products here offer this continuous backup option.
More granular options include whether backups are full, incremental, or differential. The first is pretty obvious—all the data you’ve selected for backup is copied in its entirety. Incremental backup saves system resources by only backing up changes in files from the last incremental backup, and differential backup saves all changes from the last full backup. With incremental, you need the latest full backup and all the intermediary backup data to restore a file to its original state, whereas with differential, you just need the last set of differential backup data and the first full one.
Continue reading…source: PC Mag The Best Backup Software for 2016